Validation of DCP and LWD Moisture Specifications for Granular Materials

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  06/14/2006


Advances in technology have produced a new generation of in situ soil testing devices. Implementation of quality assurance procedures that make use of these devices would improve test precision, increase inspector efficiency and safety, and allow for the direct verification of values used in mechanistic design procedures. During this study, the dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP) and light weight deflectometer (LWD) were used on laboratory prepared specimens. It was found that the Mn/DOT DCP specification accurately assessed compaction quality, although there were some suggestions for improvement. This study reached the following conclusions and recommendations. The DCP penetration should continue until the cone passes through the subbase lift of interest. The DCP seating requirement serves little purpose for a subbase lift that will be covered by subsequent lifts. The acceptable range of moisture contents during DCP testing of granular subbase should be capped at 10%. A sufficient amount of data exists to create an LWD trial specification for granular subbase. A mass of 10 kg, drop height of 50 cm, and plate diameter of 20 cm are recommended. It is also recommended that the LWD specification include three seating drops followed by three data drops at each new height.

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